It was Coco Chanel who said, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”. For Sanaa Lathan’s character, Violet, in Netflix’s Nappily Ever After, truer words have never been spoken. Nappily Ever After is a romantic comedy, reminiscent of the 90’s formulaic romantic dramedy, about a very successful yet deeply shallow woman who shaves her head after a break-up and begins her own journey of growth and self-actualization. She meets a man that gives her the love she has been longing for and they ride off into the sunset at the end. If that synopsis sounds like it could be about any romantic comedy, well that’s because this movie was just like any romantic comedy. There was nothing impressive about it; we’ve seen this story many times before, but executed in a better way. The acting was sub-par-we’ve seen better performances from these actors in other films. There were also some pretty glaring plot holes that made certain scenes seem disconnected from the story.
Now, I’m not saying this was a bad movie, it was just predictable and underwhelming compared to all the hype that surrounded it. It’s not surprising that it took so long for this story to migrate from book to film. I mean, Universal Studios has owned the rights to the film since 2003. They previously secured Halle Berry as the lead, and with that star power alone the movie should be successful, right? I guess not because they dropped it and now we may know why.
Maybe if the writing was stronger, maybe if Lynn Whitfield didn’t overact as Violet’s bougie mother, maybe if they didn’t use a man to help Violet realize her own worth, it would be better, and what is that about? Why is it that in all of these movies a woman needs a new man for her to realize her worth? What is so bad about letting her figure it out all by herself? In the real world women are perfectly capable of going through emotionally distressing times without having a complete emotional breakdown, and if we do have an emotional breakdown we are perfectly able to crawl out of the hole of despair healthier, smarter, and stronger than before by our damn selves. We don’t always need a man to tell us our worth. We just need a few good friends, our mama, that one auntie that keeps it real, and God to give us support.
Let me just step down from my soapbox and continue my review. We will save those arguments for another day. As I was saying, the movie could have just been better all around. I honestly believe this movie has a very specific demographic and I just don’t fit into it. Personally, I feel if someone liked the movie, they are probably in their late 30s to early 60s, African American, and a heterosexual woman. Or, they are all of those things except they are the only white woman in their friend group. They remember going to the theatres to see, Waiting to Exhale, The Best Man, The Wood, or the one and only How Stella Got Her Groove Back. They really like Tyler Perry movies and maybe a few of his shows, but they definitely remember when he was writing plays-before Oprah launched his career. They might even have some of the plays on DVD, like my sister. There is nothing wrong with any of that. They like what they like and this movie was made just for them. To entertain them and give them a break from everything else that’s going on in the world. That’s great, I’m happy they enjoyed it; but for the rest of us, it missed the mark.
Written by Liz Bennett